Arkham City: New Screenshots and Details

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Arkham City: New Screenshots and Details

My flatmate cites Arkham Asylum as his favorite game, and when I got home and told him that I’d been to see it at Warner Bros. London office, he put his fingers in his ears and turned the stereo up. It confirmed something I’d been thinking on the train home: this is one of those games that we’re better off not knowing much about.

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There’s five of us in the private screening room and Dax Ginn, marketing game manager at Rocksteady, has just played through an early mission from Arkham City, lasting around 30 minutes, which I’m not going to spoil for you. We are free to call out questions afterwards and one journalist asks, “Will we see anything like the Scarecrow missions from Arkham Asylum?”

“Did you like the scarecrow stuff?” he replies to slow nods. “Well we did too. Aren’t you glad that you didn’t know about the Scarecrow levels before you played Arkham Asylum? If they had been part of the marketing campaign they wouldn’t have had that kind of impact, so I’m just going to leave it there.”

The biggest difference between Arkham City and its predecessor is the move to a more open setting. In the intervening 18 months, Quincy Sharp, who was the warden of the Asylum, is elected Mayor of Gotham and transfers all of the inmates to Arkham City. Batman has been watching all of this happen and he knows that he’s going to have to deal with it.

Arkham City is also around five times bigger than the Asylum and most of it is open to the player from the start.” Anything that is open to the sky is open to player right from the off,” Dax explains. “Nobody tells Batman where to go so it was important for us to give that freedom right at the start. The interiors are gated and will open as a result of narrative progression.”

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“Our attitude towards pacing is to throw everything at the player straight away and let them decide how and when they want to navigate those options. Telling a story in Arkham Asylum was very easy because it was a very linear experience. Arkham City isn’t a sandbox game but it’s not completely linear either – it’s somewhere in-between.”

“What we don’t want to do was ruin the pacing with frivolous collection missions where you have to go and find 50 things while Gotham is burning – Batman wouldn’t do that. We have a tight core narrative with clear paths; going off-piste inevitably yields other options but they are always character driven, whether that’s answering a phonecall from Zsasz and having him taunt you or finding an informant who reveals another snippet of information.”

Batman is able to negotiate this large, open space by gliding and swooping to gain momentum, using his Bat Claw to catch the corners of buildings and propel himself skyward. He can even hook onto patrol helicopters and perch on the landing gear as chaos unfolds beneath.

“If you’re just flying around the streets looking for a fight,” Dax adds, “you’ll pick up bits of information that have been designed to be communicated in an ambient fashion at that particular stage in the game. There is a vast amount of conversational dialogue that has been a serious job to write and record, but we finally finished it last Wednesday.”


“We’re constantly looking at Arkham Asylum and seeing how it feeds into Arkham City. The same applies to characters, combat, moves; they all carry over but how they have evolved is directly related to the new challenges Batman is facing.”

This also applies to Detective Mode, an X-ray overlay that you use to gather forensic information. Some people had mixed feelings about it because, while it was very useful, they felt like they were missing out the game’s incredible visuals by using it.

“There weren’t a lot of criticisms of Arkham Asylum but that was one of them,” says Dax, “and thinking about why people reacted the way that they did and what we’re going to do about it was really interesting. Batman is a detective, so removing detective mode wasn’t an option for us because it suits him so well and it allows us to do these slower paced investigation sections.”

“Our thinking was more about why people responded to it in that way. Gamers wanted it to be more of a tool, just like the Bat Claw is a tool. We hadn’t balanced it right so it felt more like an exploit than a tool, because it gave you so much information. That’s our understanding of the criticisms and our response has been to balance that information better.”

Before we finished, one journalist enquired if Rocksteady would be interested in working on a game adaptation of The Dark Knight Rises.

“He [Christopher Nolan] is a pretty amazing guy and that would be a brilliant lunchtime meeting to have, discussing how that might work. But what we find with the comic book license is that we get creative freedom to push the characters in pretty much any direction we like; we’re not bound to a single narrative. I’m not saying we’ll never make a game based on a movie, but as of right now and from a creative perspective, it’s not something we want to be doing.”

Arkham City is looking very much the worthy successor to my flatmate’s favorite PS3 game. From the sound of it, we can expect plenty of surprises when it is released, and I can promise you won’t read about them here first.

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4 Author Replies

  • I can’t wait to play. Loved the first game and I really look forward to the almost open world settings we are going to be able to travel through this time around. Nice read.


  • Wow, those screens look awesome.

  • Is Mr freeze A boss battle in this game and is huego strange the main villain?

  • Hey is everyone ok didn’t think you would post things so early hope all of the staff is ok with that devastating earthquake wish all is well

  • Is that a giant, one-armed clown?

  • A.) All my thoughts and prayers toward those working for Sony affected by the natural disasters.

    B.) Game looks good.

    C.) Could we please, please, please get a NA WKC2 and WKC PSP announcement for North America!? :)

  • First I’d like to pay my respects to all those who lost loved ones in Japan from the Tsunami.

    On a lighter note, can’t wait for this game. part 1 was amazing, and im sure part 2 will be even more epic.
    LOVING the idea wat you don’t lose any gadgets from part 1 either.

    • The gadgets are the same but how they can be used is different. One example is that you can grab Riddler Trophies with the Bat Claw – expect them to be hidden in more hard to reach places as a result.

  • Platinumed the first, hope I will with the second.

  • No release date details. The suspense is killing me.

  • The game continues to look awesome! Can’t wait to hear a release date.

  • Can anyone confirm a release date of October 21st for this game? I only consider it official for PS3 when it’s posted on the Blog.

    Also, My heart and prayers to all of Japan.

  • 10/21 in Europe. US October 18th? Can I mark my countdown calendar on the ANDROID phone now?

  • Thanks James, My browser didn’t refresh to see your reply. My calendar is officially marked.

  • Is the second one going to have all those hard-to-find riddler clues scattered all over the map?

  • Replaying Arkham Asylum now, truly fantastic game. Arkham City looks incredibly sick, and will hopefully be even better. Great write up!

  • Hopefully Arkham City on PS3 will be the definitive version this time as well. Arkham Asylum sold best on PS3 last time around thanks to Joker content.

  • Will there be another cup of bonus content for PS3 owners like with the first one with the joker content? If there is or dlc, can we get like long missions instead of the challenges matches stuff.

    Also when will we see the official box art? I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    And The thing I wanna know if any of the latest comics for Batman has influenced their direction for the game. Because the comics right now are just fantastic stuff. Honestly, it is the best time to be Batman fan with Christopher Nolan’s Movies, Morrision’s, Snyder’s, & Etc Batman comics, Rocksteady Batman: Arkham City. Jeez, I’m just to excited that I can’t wait.

  • Any exclusives for PS3 this time around? Hugo Strange missions, perhaps?

  • I really hope Mr. Freeze, Riddler and Penguin are bosses in this game. they are my favorite batman villain.

  • No challenge mode trophies please, it’s the only thing keeping me from getting the platinum :(

  • Thanks for the release date. Resistance 3, Batman: Arkham City leading up to UNCHARTED 3: Drake’s Deception. 3 AWESOME months of gaming.

  • Being a fan of comics and superheroes, I loved the first game! Not just the gameplay and combat that actually made you feel as though you were controlling Batman for once but all the little details, hints at characters and the Riddler trophies. I enjoyed it all.

    I will be getting this on day one. Any word on a collector’s edition again? PS3 exclusives (If there are I’m sure nothing will be said till the release date gets closer)? Hopefully if the challenges return, they’re a little easier or at least give the option to skip the short intro this time lol.

    One more thing, kind of a request. Can we get a dynamic Batman Arkham City theme for the PS3? Batman perched on a line in the dark while it’s raining, lightning flashing and cape blowing in the wind? Maybe a exclusive for the collectors edition. Also maybe a few avatars as well? Just throwing it out there.

    Can’t wait!

  • Cant wait! Please have more riddles. I hope ps3 gets exclusive dlc…maybe someone exclusive to fight with…joker was fantastic. I’m hoping I can get a collector’s edition for this one as well

  • @velorn dynamic theme would be badass

  • cool it come out on my birthday, can’t wait, thanks for the info.

  • Thanks for the beautiful screenshot of the Dark Knight against the color of fire. Very nice.

    • I love that image too. Let’s all take a second to click on it, go to the action option on flickr, view all sizes and right click: set as desktop. Good times.

  • I can’t wait until this game comes out.I just hope they fixed one thing in the combat mechanic when those crazies from the mental ward would jump on you even when you were doing a round house.What was up with that?it was super annoying.

  • and the other thing was people shooting at you when u were fighting thank god they fixed that by letting you take away the henchman’s guns.

  • Batman is sick, The Arkum Asylum was badass and i can just imagine todays version!!

  • loved part 1 and i know i’m gonna love part 2, Day 1 purchase.
    I can see the great level of detail that’s in this game and i can only imagine these guys busting there butts night and day doing thing game. They must have a very supportive family. I bow down to all involved in the making of this truly great game. (i know it’s going to be Hot)

    A special thanks to you james g for giving us this fantastic info and the art work, Bravo.

  • Day 1 Purchase for me :)

  • Please just keep this single player.

    NO co-op. NO MP.

    I’m very happy with the news that this is a *single* player game.

  • You’re in the real world now that the lunatics are in Gotham, dressed like Bozo, and supporting hammers.
    This game looks like it will truly deliver the Dark Knight experience, and I cannot wait to play it.

  • Everything I’ve seen hinting at this game is so amazing! I can’t wait to play… Wow!

  • Looking forward to this. Arkham Asylum was really great and this game is shaping up to be the same.

  • I got to get the Platinum before Arkham City.
    Looks like I have a mission to complete and it shall be fulfilled.

  • you would be a jewish obama if u didn’t get this game. so plaese people dont be a jewish obama, as we all know neither are are american.

  • I will admit even though I did like the original, I felt as though it had more potential in a semi open world environment so I’m pumped to hear it’s only semi open world because I’m sorry but ridiculously huge landscapes like that of Red Dead Redemption is really just pointless. Thank you for not having the entire city open because it gets really old traveling from one point of a huge map to the other just to go back to the other side because of what the mission asks for.Thank you!

  • P.S. Is it just me or does that clown in the picture not have an arm!? lol

  • I have to say, this game was a preorder as soon as it became a preorder. RockSteady has made one of the Best Batman games EVER! And Batman Arkham City would be just as Amazing as the First if not Greater! Can you Developers show more screen shots of CatWoman and Harley Quinn? I love them as Screen Savers.

  • another great game in the making

  • Can’t wait this game looks great

  • I’m looking forward to this one. I really enjoy the prospect of some parrallels to my favorite Batman storyline. (Batman: Cataclysm) (Which would make a great game, by the way.) I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for this title!

  • this game is gonna be awesome

  • Loved the first one. wanna see some multiplayer/co-op in the second, but if u cant it’s fine. I kick butt one way or another.

  • can’t wait

  • I absolutely loved Arkham Asylum and I can’t wait for this one! Hopefully it won’t disappoint me like KZ3 and DA2 have…

  • hey James Gallagher do you think you can get some screen shots of Catwoman and Harley Quinn?? Please… I be your Best Friend!!

  • i wonder if its going to play the same way as the last game

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